Forget 10-a-day and just eat more veg, says Julia Platt Leonard. This stuffed sweet potato will get you on your way

Ten-a-day? I could feel the collective rolling of eyes when it was announced that five-a-day simply doesn’t cut it anymore – now we need to eat ten portions of fruit and veg every day. Most people in Britain don’t eat five so what chance does ten stand?

And what is a portion, anyway? Helpfully, we’re told it’s a small handful or three heaped tablespoons or 80 grams. Potatoes don’t count but sweet potatoes do. But wait, do they only count if they’re eaten with another starch? Dried fruit counts, but FYI, only eat it at meals as the sugar can damage your teeth.

It’s enough to make you nostalgic for the good old five-a-day.

One suggestion to up our fruit and veg is to ‘hide’ it in our cooking. Hide it? Children hide food but that’s to get something off their plate, not on it. Instead, why don’t we simplify the message: eat more vegetables. Eat lots of different colours and vary what you eat. It doesn’t have a number in it but it makes sense and it’s something we can do.

This baked sweet potato is topped with a mix of beans, sweet corn and tomatoes with chopped chilli and lime juice. You could go further and add some chopped avocado. Or sliced spring onions. How many portions does it include? No idea, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t get you halfway to your ten-a-day goal. Better yet, it’s super simple to make and it tastes good. That’s got to count for something, right?


Baked sweet potato with chilli & lime-spiked vegetables  

1 small sweet potato, around 200g
8 cherry tomatoes
80g tinned sweet corn, drained
80g tinned black beans, rinsed
½ lime, juiced
5g red chilli, sliced thinly 
Chopped chives to garnish
Splash of olive oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Pierce the sweet potato in several places and place on a tin lined with aluminium foil or a silicone baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done (a skewer should insert easily).

While the sweet potato is baking, slice the tomatoes in quarters or eighths, depending on the size. Mix with the sweet corn, black beans, lime juice, and red chilli. Season with salt to taste.

Remove the sweet potato from the oven. Slice it open and top with the bean mixtures. Give it a drizzle of oil and garnish with the chopped chives.